Sunday, 1 April 2012

Marketing and rioting

These are some recommendations from the newly published report on the 2011 riots in England, with my comments.

"Better information should be provided to parents and schools about marketing techniques and the way they seek to influence behaviour. The Panel recommends that the Advertising Standards Authority make the impact of advertising and branding techniques on young people a feature of its new school education programme to raise resilience amongst children."

So the ASA should go into schools to educate young people how not to be [unduly] influenced by  marketing trechniques.

"Communities are concerned about the aggressive marketing by brands to young people, who often cannot afford their products. The Panel recommends that the Advertising Standards Authority incorporate commercialism and materialism into their engagement work with young people and take action on the findings."

Right - so marketing to people who can't afford to buy a product is going to entice them into stealing it instead, so the ASA  needs to step in and tell them about commercialsm and materialism, which are the very lifeblood of advertising/marketing.

"Children must be protected from excessive marketing, whilst supporting business and not harming commerce. We also recommend that the Government appoint an independent champion to manage a dialogue between Government and big Brands to further this debate"

What, they should market things just to make children buy them if they can afford them, but not enough to make them steal them? Rather than there not being excessive marketing, we should protect children from it?

Are the report writers blinkered as to what marketing/advertising is? It is a deliberate attempt to get people to buy things by getting them to want them and/or believe they need them. There's an almighty paradox if we accept advertising/marketing, but also educate children in how not to succumb to it. It's analagous to teaching them how to get hit less painfully instead of stopping the hitting. Marketing and advertising are not natural forces like the weather. They're something we deliberately do

In the current system, if the effects of marketing are mitigated, the amount of the product consumed will fall and this will lead to less work making it and so less ability by workers to consume products. It's called cyclic consumption and it's a massive problem. We have to keep consuming to keep economic growth going, but we can't keep consuming stuff as we haven't got an infinite amount of it. The answer is to abandon the riduculous concept of economic growth as we know it and start working on meeting human needs sustainably.

What is wrong with the idea of making the meeting of human needs, especially basic ones, our priority as a planet of humans? Obviously we have to do so using only the finite resources available to us. Therefor it seems logical to conserve those resources so that we can support the maximumm population that is scientifically possible. That's a Resouce Based Economy in a nutshell.

There's a basic human need for protection from the elements/environment, and clothes and shoes are likely to be a way to provide this need, I touched before ( on Amartya Sen's Capability Approach. When advertisers make people crave the latest pair of trainers, they are not trying to appeal to their need to protect their feet and skeleton from the effects of walking and running,  but to higher order needs for feelings of self-worth, acceptance, etc, and suggesting that buying a product or products will help meet that need. But it won't.

No comments:

Post a Comment